In the heart of Toronto’s entertainment district, high-end restaurants hold their own against competition and stress, or so we assume. This facade, however, becomes too much for Daniel, a well-versed chef with a bad reputation and unhealthy work ethic. Over the span of a day in Nose to Tail, Daniel’s life spins out of control as his attitude costs him his staff and his family, and possibly the last chance he’ll get in the business.
Nose to Tail’s strongest attribute is Aaron Abrams’ dedicated performance as Daniel. Abrams, who has flexed portrayals of desperation before in films like Closet Monster and The Go-Getters, explores more of that particular range as he channels a tyrant’s levels of anger and arrogance. These heated emotions flare up when he’s having to confront co-workers over disappointments, and when he’s grovelling for forgiveness when he’s realized he’s pushed his support too far over the edge.
These exchanges, while well-acted between Abrams and whoever he’s sharing the screen with, become a formula for the film. Writer/director Jesse Zigelstein and his DoP Benjamin Lichty use tight environments to great effect, filling narrow nooks and crannies with private tension. But because the audience can eventually predict how these characters will react, we’re left feeling hungry for an actual surprise.
Nose to Tail screens at Toronto’s Canadian Film Festival on Wednesday, March 20 at 7:00 pm at Scotiabank Theatre.
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